I’m a big fan of how Steve Job’s did manage Apple, driven by the Leonardo’s maxim “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”.
Rather than focusing on several products and services, he used to focus on two, maximum three priorities at the same time. No more and no less.
This lead Apple in the last decade to become one of the most recognized brands of our times, with huge profits and awesome stuff that was able to change the way we consider technology in these days.
Although I’m talking about a company with thousands of employees, I’m convinced that the way Jobs was able to cut and reduce to the essential is a valuable way to manage and own a home business too.
At the earlier stages of my solo career I was uncomfortable with the idea of losing potential clients and thus I wanted to offer as much as I could to them: I called myself a “360º specialist” that was able to design billboards and develop websites, host radio or TV shows, teach, be hired as a DJ and bring with his audio and light equipment to the set, help with accounting and tax declarations, and on and on. I can’t say I wasn’t able to deliver all of these services, but in my clients’ mind – for sure – I was appearing more like a “Jack of all trades” rather than a focused and a trained professional.
In fact, several times the broad range of services I was trying to offer wasn’t perceived at all. I still remember a client who hired me to help him organize some parties, although I proposed him to design and build a website for his venue.
He simply did not remember the reason of our first meeting (because of my too broad offerings) and he, right from the beginning, simply filed me under his “DJ and parties” mental archive. It was even more obvious when, a few weeks later, he called me asking me if I knew someone who was able to design and bring his website to life.
Lesson learned. again.
That’s why I usually try to avoid clutter, focus on priorities and deal with few things that enable me to work towards clear goals and achieve better results. It’s also a marketing principle brought to the extremes: position your service and find your best market segment. Reducing and just promoting the most valuable assets of your business is what makes you unique against competition and in favor of your prospects.
I can’t say much for other professionals, but I can tell you that we, as a creatives, often deal with questions such as “What are you doing exactly?” and if we can’t find a quick and immediate answer we’re already on the way of losing a potential client.
For sure architects, lawyers and doctors have easier times when questions like these arise, but who says it can’t be true also for less obvious types of businesses?
If your business goals are clear and you are able to describe them in a couple of statements you’re on the right path to succeed. From a client’s perspective you will be recognized as a focused and goal driven professional, even if you’re a solo entrepreneur or a home worker.
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